Today’s business software is powerful enough to solve modern and challenging problems. It is also complex and requires special processes and systems to help developers manage applications throughout their entire lifecycle. After a software has been released and thoroughly used to solve real world problems, users may discover issues that require fixes from software vendors. Many times, users request additional features to expand the functionality of their application, and vendors deliver them through updates. But sometimes, the vendors themselves or third-party organizations discover vulnerabilities in a product that require security patches. All these bug fixes, feature updates, and security patches can be implemented systematically through patch management software.
What is patch management software?
Patch management is a process of managing software updates. Companies of all sizes that use software to operate the business require a process or system of installing and managing the latest patches on various systems and devices within its network. Patch management software is an application that automates the deployment of software patches to multiple devices across the network. Automatic delivery of patches for various operating systems (OS) and applications is accomplished through a centralized system or server application. Patch management software is usually a feature of vulnerability management solutions.
Benefits of patch management software
Patch management is an essential IT responsibility and function. The importance of having a patch management software today is mainly due to the increasing incidences of cybersecurity attacks and data breaches. Once a software update is announced or released, it’s a race between IT to plug software holes and hackers to exploit them. Patch management software provides the following benefits:
- Speedy delivery of security patches to fix vulnerabilities that may be exploited by malware or people with ill intent. It doubles as a risk mitigation or remediation tool.
- Improved performance of systems and applications by applying bug fixes that prevents system errors or program crashes. This also provides better user experience that can lead to productivity.
- The latest features of a software are delivered to users automatically with minimum distraction and with less effort from IT system administrators and in-house technicians.
Best patch management software & tools for 2021
To be effective, patch management tools should have comprehensive scanning features so they can accurately discover which software or device requires patches. The best patch management software can deploy patches to different devices and systems efficiently without affecting IT resources and network as well as requiring too much effort from personnel. It should also have comprehensive reporting that details current status, urgent issues, and deployment progress. The following list of patch management software includes highly recommended products reviewed from multiple sites from top-ranked vendors.
Syxsense combines IT management, patch management, and security vulnerability scanning all in one solution. Automatically deploy OS and third-party patches as well as Windows 10 Feature Updates for Windows, MacOS, and Linux devices. Syxsense also lets you patch virtual machines, legacy OS, and IoT devices. With automatic and pre-built patch commands, Syxsense makes it easy to remediate vulnerabilities inside and outside your network.
Ninite Pro is a browser-based software installer and patch management software for Windows PC and servers. Each machine is represented in a row and each app is a column. Users can select one or multiple cells to install, update, or uninstall an app on a machine. A lightweight agent is installed on a machine that communicates with the management console. The software also manages roaming laptops and offline machines that get updated once they are online. Other features include automatic update policies, sort, group, and filter, and high-level view for overview patching status at a glance.
Chocolatey for Business (C4B) is a package manager for Windows with patch management features. It has a large registry of Windows packages. The software helps administrators and DevOps teams deploy software with improve security, enhanced productivity features, and increased visibility. It simplifies software deployment and configuration through a simple, repeatable, and automated approach. It integrates with many remote monitoring and management (RMM) solutions for patch management.
PRTG Network Monitor
Paessler offers PRTG Network Monitor that has an effective Windows update and patch checking solution. It monitors Windows patches and updates across the network, notifies admins in case of faulty or incomplete updates, and provides a patch status overview via a centralized dashboard. The software uses sensors or monitoring elements to scan Windows OS for its current version then inquires online for the latest version. Any mismatch generates a notification to the admin or an automatic update.
GFI LanGuard is a comprehensive solution that provides network monitoring, vulnerability assessment, and patch management. It automatically discovers computers, laptops, mobile devices, printers, servers, and virtual machines. The software scans the whole network for missing patches and find gaps in different operating systems, browsers, and third-party software. Patches can be deployed automatically from the central server or by deployed agents on local machines. Other features include patch rollback, bug fixes, non-patch vulnerability identification, and reports on compliance and vulnerabilities.
NinjaOne is an all-in-one RMM software with robust patch management features. It works with Windows, Macs, and Linux OS in endpoint devices to keep them secure and up to date. Admins can easily configure patching preferences and automatically deploy the most common third-party app updates across endpoints. Patches can be downloaded directly to each device or use a server. Other features include automation settings for different organization, location, group, or device patch management.
InsightVM from Rapid7 is a vulnerability scanner that includes patch management features. For remediation purposes, it automates the collection of important information in devices, retrieves fixes for known vulnerabilities, and applies patches with approval from the IT admin. Afterwards, it reassesses the impact to and current risk of assets to verify if the patching has been successful. It integrates with tools like IBM BigFix and Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM).
Patch Manager Plus
ManageEngine’s Patch Manager Plus is an enterprise patch management software that offers automated patch deployment on Windows, macOS, and Linux devices. It also supports more than 350 third-party applications for their updates. The software, which has on-premise and cloud versions, scans endpoints to detect missing patches. It then tests patches before deployment, deploys working patches automatically, and provides reports for visibility and audit purposes. A LAN, WAN, and free trial edition are available.
Patch Manager is a remote desktop patch management software from SolarWinds. It has simplified patch management, includes Microsoft Windows Server Update Service (WSUS) patching, and SCCM integration. Admins can also automate patching of third-party apps and virtual desktops. Other features include easy-to-use and powerful reporting options and a web user interface to view patch data in SolarWinds integrated web console.
Avira Software Updater is a patch management tool that lets users easily update Windows software and drivers. By patching holes in different apps in Windows, it can fix security flaws in Zoom, optimize computer performance, and also stop individual reminders from third-party apps such as Adobe, Google, and Skype. Avira has extensive coverage of software updates on common programs and ensures all updates are clean. Admins can decide when and what to update from patches that provide the latest features, optimizations, and bug fixes.
Avast Business is a patch management solution for Windows devices. It simplifies and automates patching for Windows software and popular third-party apps. The software scans all devices for missing patches on a set frequency (daily, weekly, exact date). Patches will be deployed automatically for all vendors and software with the option to exclude selected patches. A dashboard shows admins a view of missing patches, patch names, severity level, and release notes. Other features include rollback for unstable patches and configurable reports for comprehensive information.